The Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in 2012

Chapter in S. Casey-Maslen (Ed.), The War Report 2012, Oxford University Press (2013)

23 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2014

See all articles by Maya Brehm

Maya Brehm

Article 36; Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

In 2012, as in previous years, 'explosive violence' (the use of explosive weapons) was geographically widespread and its humanitarian impact was devastating. Explosive weapons function mainly through blast and fragment projection (fragmentation) in the area around the point of detonation. This paper starts by presenting data collected in 2012 on the pattern of harm associated with the use of explosive weapons in populated areas around the world. It then turns to analyse the use of explosive weapons in populated areas under existing international law, discussing legal constraints imposed on the use of explosive weapons by weapons treaties and international humanitarian law (IHL) governing the conduct of hostilities. In this connection, the paper looks at how the use of cluster munitions in populated areas is addressed in the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and in the 2012 judgment by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) in the Santo Domingo case, and examines the controversial judgment by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Gotovina case, which deals with artillery shelling of populated areas. The paper then analyses the use of explosive weapons under international human rights law (IHRL), and concludes with a call for enhanced protection of civilians against harm caused by the use, in populated areas, of explosive weapons, especially those with wide area effects.

Keywords: armed conflict, bombardment, civilian protection, cluster munitions, distinction, explosive weapons, IEDs, international humanitarian law, human rights law, shelling, war

Suggested Citation

Brehm, Maya, The Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in 2012 (July 1, 2013). Chapter in S. Casey-Maslen (Ed.), The War Report 2012, Oxford University Press (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2373672

Maya Brehm (Contact Author)

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